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‘Final Five’ Ag Springboard Teams To Compete Tuesday for $10,000

Posted: April 9, 2015

Biotech saffron, Bridge the GapSci, Protein Station, Blue House and Delivered U named finalists

Five student teams pitching new products and services in the agricultural sciences will compete for a $7,500 grand prize Tuesday, April 14, in the Ag Springboard student business pitch competition. One team will win a second prize of $2,500.

The finalists are:

• Team Saffron, led by Nate Hamaker, which proposes using biotechnology to increase saffron production.

• Bridge the GapSci, led by Kerry Belton, pitching a non-profit organization to provide scientific laboratory equipment to colleges and universities in developing countries.

• Protein Station, led by Yangyili Fu, with a concept to sell fresh meals to gym-goers.

• Blue House, led by Richard Zang, pitching a technology to replicate the transpiration process of passive movement of water through a tree.

• Team Delivered U, led by Ryan Stein, a delivery service that focuses on a simple menu.

The “final five” teams will pitch their ideas live to a panel of judges during Tuesday. Winners of the $7,500 grand prize and $2,500 second prize will be announced that evening during the Ag Springboard awards banquet at the Nittany Lion Inn.

“We are very pleased with the quality of the student business presentations and the diversity of ideas,” says Dr. Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar & Entrepreneurship Coordinator at the College of Agricultural Sciences.

“The ideas represent some compelling opportunities and solutions to some of today’s challenges in food, agriculture and biorenewables.”

Ag Springboard is a student business pitch competition and hosted by the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program.

Students begin with an idea for a new product or service, or for a nonprofit solution to a social problem. They form a team that must include an agricultural sciences student to develop a pitch around the idea. In the first round of the Ag Springboard competition, the teams submit their pitch as 10-minute videos.

The pitch details the problem, solution and the customers who will purchase and use the product or service. It identifies competition, the business model for making money and how the team will use the prize money to advance the idea.

Nineteen student teams registered for Ag Springboard in early March. Thirteen teams submitted video pitches for round one. The “final five” pitch live on Tuesday and answer judges’ questions Tuesday in the final round.

Ag Springboard is a signature event of the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program, dedicated to student, faculty and alumni entrepreneurship and innovation in the food and agriculture sectors, and made possible with the support of donors like Earl and Kay Harbaugh.